Only in small-town America -- in communities like Payson -- would residents band together to wholeheartedly back such a worthwhile cause as the Credit for Kids tax credit program.
Last year's contributions to Credit for Kids -- more than $205,000 --xceeded almost everyone's expectations and set a record for the program, which has been in existence since 1997.
Although official figures haven't been compiled, Payson's per capita donations have traditionally been among the highest in the state.
The success of Credit for Kids can be attributed to all those who contributed and to a group of residents who joined forces to get others involved.
Some of those who helped spearhead the tax credit campaign were recognized at the Jan. 11 school board meeting. They included Julie and Ray Pugel of Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty, Diane and Mark Monty of Pioneer Title, Stockmen's Bank manager, Pat Willis and Payson Roundup publisher Richard Haddad.
In addition to receiving plaques from the grateful members of the school district, Payson High School principal Sue Myers pulled off a tremendous gesture by giving to the honorees certificates for a free 30-minute PHS band and chorus concert. In donating to Credit for Kids, taxpayers help support extracurricular programs that could not be funded by the regular school budget.
Payson Elementary School principal Roy Sandoval is among those school administrators who understands the value of the tax program.
"Without the support of our community through Credit for Kids, we just could not offer after school enrichment and many academic intervention programs," he said. "These funds are crucial in giving students a well-rounded education."
Contributions from the program have been used to fund outdoor adventure clubs, science Olympiads, orchestras, musical theaters, field trips, cultural awareness projects, athletic programs, fine arts, career explorations, student transportation and a myriad other activities.
The biggest benefactor of the tax program has been the Stadium Improvement Project. Thanks to tax contributions, our school district now has a stadium facility that students, coaches, teachers and residents can be proud of.
For too many years, our school facilities were the scorn of the 3A and 4A conferences.
By supporting public schools through participation in Credit for Kids, Rim country taxpayers have shown they sincerely care about the well-being of our most precious asset -- our children.